Sweet Deal - Kelly Jamieson Another great character-driven story from Ms. Jamieson. She has such a way of writing her characters that I really care about what happens to them.

In this one, we have Shelby. She's been working at a job where her boss gives her a lot of extra attention and plum project assignments which has the rest of the office whispering behind their backs. Shelby is not oblivious to this and is horrified because she had a relationship with her boss at her last job and it ended badly. She needs this job and she needs to be able to earn the respect of her coworkers... rumors of a relationship with the married boss are not helping at all. When he suggests they go to the company picnic together -- one which his wife will probably not attend -- Shelby desperately blurts out that she'll be going with her boyfriend. Her nonexistent boyfriend. She doesn't even want a boyfriend after the experience at her last job. So now she's stuck.

While taking a break from work at the local coffee shop, the hot guy she's seen there several times stops to talk to her. They've been eying each other for months, but neither has ever really spoken to the other beyond the polite smile and "Hello". But today, he sits down, gets her to discuss what's bugging her, and then offers to pretend to be her boyfriend. Jake, for his part, is not looking for anything long-term. He was hurt very badly by his best friend and girlfriend who ended up falling in love with each other. Since then, he's kept his relationships short and impersonal.

When they show up to the picnic, turns out Shelby's boss and his wife are Jake's ex-girlfriend and ex-best friend. But Jake doesn't tell her all that. He says they used to know each other, but that's it. Jake doesn't want anyone's pity, and he also wants to show he's moved on by being there with such a hot girl... and he now wonders whether his ex-best friend could really be planning to cheat? Damn him if it will be with Shelby.

Anyway, after the picnic, during which Shelby and Jake had a great time together, they get down and dirty. She feels like it's some kind of reward for Jake for putting up with the ruse all day. But it turns out they're extremely compatible. And while she didn't really expect to see him again, he calls her and invites her to dinner. And things continue to move from there. And feelings neither of them expected or wanted grow.

We end up with a bit of angst near the end, but thankfully both characters were mature enough to try to set things right, and we end up with an HEA. And there were a couple of interesting side stories as well. Really cute story with great chemistry.